Monday, October 12, 2015

St. Anne Street Shrine at Old St. Mary in Milwaukee

On a beautiful autumn Sunday afternoon, following the 11:30 am Mass, a group of about 150 people processed behind the Saint Anne Society of Old St. Mary Parish and Fr. Tim Kitzke for the unveiling and dedication of a new Saint Anne Street Shrine that looks out from the parish offices on Milwaukee Street upon all who pass by the downtown neighborhood.

Especially poignant is the fact that a "gentleman's" strip club had been trying to purchase a building across the street from the parish office but their license was denied by a 15-0 vote of the city's aldermen.  I'm sure that the prayerful efforts of Fr. Tim Kitzke and the parishioners of Old St. Mary, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and St. Anne, had a lot to do with that decision.

Regarding the shrine, Fr. Tim pointed out that the Virgin Mary in St. Anne's arms is looking back toward the parish and St. Anne is looking out to the city, modeling her strength and dignity as a woman for all of Milwaukee.  The Shrine will sanctify the city and be a blessing to all those who walk past the parish.

What follows below is the wonderful and moving introduction and blessing given by Fr. Tim during the dedication of the shrine:


Today is a momentous occasion in the history of our parish as we celebrate this dedication of this street shrine to St. Anne, the mother of Mary our Blessed Mother.

St. Anne was a faithful servant of God in whose womb was conceived the Immaculate Virgin Mary.  Through her example Mary grew in fidelity to the Lord as servant most pure.  When the archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary she was filled with grace to become the Mother of Jesus, and St. Anne his maternal grandmother.

Today we stand in the shadows of our church to dedicate this image of St. Anne for public veneration.  We bless our city with this shrine so that all who pass here may know of our commitment to the mission of Jesus that the doors of our church are always open and welcoming. This public expression of faith is built upon the traditions of our immigrant ancestors who came here from Bavaria, Puerto Rico and Africa.

This shrine celebrates the dedication and the generosity of the St. Anne society in our parish who for over 170 years have been committed to the mission of Old St. Mary.  The initial bricks of our church structure were hand made by the first members of the society in 1844.  They have worked selflessly since to ensure that all who seek the Lord Jesus can do so in our church.

May this image remind us that the saints are ever near and intercede for us ceaselessly and we join them in the marvelous Communion of Saints and sing the praises of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr. Tim offered a prayer of blessing for the shrine.

Following the sprinkling rites with holy water, Fr. Tim incensed the shrine.


Lord, we bless you for you alone are holy, and because in your compassion for sinners you sent into the world your Son, Jesus Christ, the author of all holiness.

He sent the Spirit to sustain his newborn Church, a voice that teaches us the secrets of holiness, a breeze that strengthens and refreshes, a fire that sears our hearts with love, the seed of God that yields the harvest of grace.

Today we praise you for the gifts of the Spirit bestowed upon St. Anne in whose honor we dedicate this street shrine.  May we follow in the footsteps of the Lord keeping before us the example of St. Anne, mother and grandmother, and grow to a maturity measured not by nature but by our faithfulness in Christ.

May we proclaim the Gospel daily in word and in deed, shouldering our crosses daily and extend our hand to others in your service.

St. Anne is for us a witness to the life of the Gospel and stands in your presence to intercede for us. Grant that we may benefit from her intercession.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayer to St. Anne

Good St. Anne
you were especially favored by God
to be the mother of
the most holy Virgin Mary,
the Mother of our Savior.
Through your intercession
with your most pure daughter
and with her divine Son,
kindly obtain for us the grace
and the favor we seek.
Please secure for us also
forgiveness for our past sins
the strength to perform faithfully
our daily duties
and the help we need
to persevere in the love
of Jesus and Mary.

St. Anne's Women's Society

Est. October 6th, 1844
Most Reverend John Martin Henni, D.D.
Bishop of Milwaukee

Instrumental in the construction
and decoration of the church.

To support the parish Liturgical life
with items necessary for sacred worship.

To support their membership
through prayer, spiritual enrichment and study.

To St. Anne
Mother of the Virgin Mary

St. Anne and the Virgin Mary seem to be standing in the middle
of the downtown neighborhood in this reflection through the shrine's plexiglass.

Old St. Mary exterior
Old St. Mary Exterior


  1. Oh St. Anne and Our Lady DO look like they are standing on the walkway! I love the pictures, Anne!

  2. What a great addition to the neighborhood congratulations! cmj

  3. I'm so glad you wrote about this Saint Anne Street Shrine, Anne. It is so beautiful. And by the strip club not working out, it seems like the Shrine's first miracle. We don't have any such shrines where I live, but I've read of roadside / mountainside grottos in Ireland, and like the one you wrote about, have thought them to be beautiful reminders to a busy people to pray.